Sadly the talking point after this disappointing defeat for Wolves is going to be team discipline; even more sadly, it will be with some justification this time. The game ultimately hinged on a bad tackle by Henry on Gomez and a justifiable red card after only ten minutes. I’m perfectly sure the tackle was not intended to injure, but it was unnecessary and reckless and should never have been attempted. Had Henry not acquired an over-exaggerated reputation for reckless play already this season, less would be said about this tackle than is bound to be in the next few days, but in the circumstances to throw himself into a stupid tackle like that was a very poor decision.
I was, however, disappointed to hear the Sky pundits at half time dredge up Henry’s tackle which left Zamora injured. Talk of this is always swiftly followed by a mention of the fact that no one disputes that the tackle was fair and the result unlucky. It is therefore completely irrelevant to today’s situation, where the tackle was not fair, and the result lucky. If was only Henry’s second red card, however, and I hope to see lessons swiftly learned.
Henry is not the only one who needs to learn some lessons fast. While it’s somewhat unfair to judge the players left playing 80 minutes a man down, Wolves finished the game very tamely. Had the game stopped after 60 minutes (is Wolves’ ‘late-in-the-game’ hoodoo, moving nearer to the middle of the game?) I probably would have said that ashamed as I was of Henry, I was thoroughly proud of the other ten players on the pitch, but that would probably have been sentiment talking. While Doyle and Jarvis showed genuine quality, Ward looked far from a Premier League left back, but Edwards was perhaps the most worrying. When he played at the start of last season I was impressed by his energy and effort, but his lack of skill was all too evident. His foul just outside the box that led to Wigan’s first (a great free kick from Gomez) was clumsy and stupid.
On the whole, with some notable exceptions, performances, if not results this season give me hope that Wolves will pick up enough points to stay up, but there’s no doubt that we’re showing a fine streak of relegation form.
The only way is up – I hope – because this way is down.